Ode to Guide: Celebrating Dev Anand’s 97th birth anniversary with his greatest film

Ode to Guide: Celebrating Dev Anand’s 97th birth anniversary with his greatest film
Written by Sheikh Ayaz Mumbai |

September 26, 2020 8:12:28 pm

Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand in the guideThe Guide is not only the best of Dev Anand’s career, but also one of the greatest films of Hindi cinema. (Express Archive Photo)

Is Guide Bollywood’s favorite movie? From actors like Aamir Khan and Sonam Kapoor to directors like Shekhar Kapur and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and even to Naseeruddin Shah, who is commercially out of Bollywood, they all play the 1965 Dev Anand-Waheeda Rehman classic Count as a personal touchstone. Once during a film promotion, Shah referred to Dev Anand as the ‘evergreen star’, known for his youthful optimism and never-say-die spirit – as a consummate entertainer whose films “Harshallas Jo Known as “fast fading with our lives”. And yet, the guide is not really what anyone would call ‘joyful’. It gives you a Dev Anand that you have never seen before. The film (with Waheeda Rehman, one of the most spectacular performances of her career, does not forget the dances that rock the Hindi screen to a classical level) Anand’s captivating romance (with Taxi Driver, Tere Ghar Ke, Now Do Ke The middle is a spiritual bridge) Girah etc.) and noirs / thrillers (Baji, Kala Pani, CID etc.).

The conventional wisdom on Anand is that he is an undeniably goofy, better romanced with leading ladies with an exaggerated twinkle in his eyes, flamboyant smiles, sometimes moving moves and more than anything else Tilt of a song. But Vijay Anand’s guide broke that mold. Who would have believed that the loving Bon Vivent as a sad saint prays for the impossible in a remote hamlet? The well-waxed puff is long gone and the effect of a blurred sign appears on the most recognizable stub of the film-idol’s face. The Guide is not a film with a direct social message, although it deals with adultery committed by a woman and gray shades with a hero. But like the pot whose Danyuz hero (played by Waheeda Rehman, a multi-married Rosie) makes a splash in the popular song “Aaj Phir Mile Ke”, which many critics say is a “way to find her own identity”. Indicates her new independence. The guide broke many conventions as it awaits the rise and fall of our charming hero Raju Guide (Anand) and the ambitious relationship between him and Rosie. The Guide is not just the best film of Dev Anand’s career, but one of the greatest films of Hindi cinema, examining the social context through his on-the-titular character, who in a short time turns from idealist to opportunist goes. Redemption for him is only one rain away. On another day, the guide would have to see, but today, on Anand’s 97th birth anniversary (he left us on 3 December 2011), a scene assumes the mantra of an aud. Spend some time in the company of the guide and you will not regret it.

A saint is born

A poster of the guide The Dev Anand-Starrer Guide is based on RK Narayan’s novel The Guide. (Express Archive Photo)

The film, based on RK Narayan’s novel The Guide, begins with Raju, a tourist guide, who gets out of jail and enters a new life. Accusing him of forgery and fraud, he wants to put his old life behind him. It’s fitting that the credits roll with the affinity of SD Burman with “Who’s There Thy”, hinting that it’s going to be through and through the SD Magic Show. The credits feature an impressive montage, as Raju embarks on a new journey. In a touching shot, Trump Raju stays down as lover Candood on a park bench. Shailendra’s verses speak of his pilgrimage. Krujali is ironic, because in another film, lover Dev Anand on the bench will undoubtedly play his heroine. The opening song also serves as a scene for director Vijay Anand to turn into a visual playground, complete with hidden symbols and literary flair. We meet Rosie for the first time when we see her in the flesh. Raju stumbles and takes a nap from his cloth bag. And there she is – the woman who will make Raju rich and powerful but quickly become responsible for falling from grace. Rosie’s archaeologist husband Marco does not consider Rosie like a photograph. Or a “statue”, as Rosie says in one scene, in a stroke of anguish. After a heated argument, she leaves him and finds shelter with Raju, a Kabir-Iqbal-Zouk-gali-smart, who makes his living as a tour guide. Writer RK Narayan in The Guide writes, “My trouble did not begin but was for Rosie.” Raila Raju, as Hustler is said in the novel, describes Rosie as “cute and elegant”, admitting that she began to “take the trouble of presenting herself” after coming to the village. Dev Anand, however, is more than presentable at all times (except for climax), as the star used to. While Marco is impressed by her discoveries, she invites Raju to accompany a famous local snake dancer. Here Raju sees Rosie’s serpent dance. Hypnotized, he becomes her first spectator and then does not look back. Raju helps Rosie to re-establish her as Nalini. But the real crux of the film is the growing gap and shifting moral compass between Raju and Rosie / Nalini (even a simple flower brings her happiness, while Raju plunges into moral corruption). He gives wings to Rosie to fly, one to honestly create a life that is nothing short of a spectacle for her. Then how sad that his own life becomes a spectacle in the end. The conversion of a fast-talking guide into a spiritual guide praying for relief in a rain-fed village is one of the film’s unexpected twists. Reincarnated as a saint, is this the final of Raju’s fraud?

Is Rosie a feminist heroine?

Waheeda Rehman Of all his characters, from Pyaasa to Occasional, Waheeda Rehman lists the guide as his personal favorite. (Express Archive Photo)

Raju is not a man of substance. Rosie. Born to dance, she worships her craft, but her talent for Raju means nothing more than a source of fame and wealth. Rosie is the most exciting character of the guide and the most exciting thing about her is that she is the real creative force and major inspiration behind the film. For one, her dance pieces are the most notable that you can see on the Hindi screen. All the resulting parcels of the plot. Rahman’s training in Bharatanatyam suited him well rather than playing the role of a dancer (two years later, in Jewel Thief, Anand Bandhu would make good use of Vyjayanthimala’s oversize dancing talent). Her dance moves are the wet dreams of every Bollywood dancing star. Charming Rahman, now 83 years old and living a more or less retired life, brought his trademark sober dignity to the role. He gives it all to her, finding pain and poetry in Rosie.

Is Rosie a feminist heroine? Yes and no Deep inside, she is a typical small-town Indian woman of her time, who aspires to marriage, motherhood and a good home. But then, by the men, she is forced to return to the dance. Unknowingly, going out into the world and finding its place in it. Author Jerry Pinto calls Rosie “long before his time”, commenting further in an essay, “He is not standing by her husband. He does not stand by his second chance at love. In other words he , A woman who puts her interest first. Marco buys her respect. Raju gives her freedom. She takes both and moves on. “But she has done no wrong, so this is the climate for Raju. The payment is left to be given. Of all his characters, from thirsty to occasional, Rahman lists the guide as his personal favorite. “Rosie has brown shoes, but she lives Is true for She has a variety of emotions and colors, and that’s why I love her, “she once explained in an interview.

Misleading guide

Musikali, too, the guide which was screened at Cannes in 2008, is no ordinary film. Shailendra and SD Burman Combo had earlier given a blockbuster for Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman in Kala Bazaar (1960). But the guides remain his magnum opus. Navketan (Banner of the Undies) had a great job with SD Burman. The composer’s score for the guide is highly versatile, full of an undeniable philosophical ambition and engaging charm. Its continued popularity, whether it be “Aaj Tak Janeye”, “Singing Rahe Mera Dil,” “Din Dhe Jale Jaane” or “Piya Tosse Naina Lage Re”, is evidenced by Burman’s root beauty and classic touch. The guide, as many of you may know, was also produced in English by American filmmaker Tad Danielewski, without Burman’s soundtrack. While An Angelophone Dev Anand is a natural with his English drawl, the film had a disappointing initial reception. For a long time, in fact, it was not available for viewing and only recently came up on YouTube. On the other hand, the Hindi version responded enthusiastically.

However, one person was said to be miffed with the results. And it was its author RK Narayan. The great writer, whom VS Naipaul billed as the “Gandhi of Indian literature”, wrote an entertaining article on the making of the film in an essay titled ‘Misguided Guide’. Dev Anand, who has served as a real-life ‘guide’ for many talents ranging from Zeenat Aman to Jackie Shroff, operated Narayan’s Mysore home to buy the rights to the book. The whole adaptation process was new for Narayan, who overridden himself by director Tad Danielewski. According to Narayan’s ‘Misguided Guide’, a completely different film was wandering in Danielski’s mind which Narayan did not approve of. Typical of Narayan’s literature, the guide was established in the South Indian village of Malgudi. Any Narayan reader can tell you that his imagination is interested in the human scale. God of Small Fiction can only be called verses unlike the epic. In The Guide’s migration from page to screen, Narayan tells Jhumpa Lahiri about losing the purity of his voice. Indeed, Danielski had an action-packed romance on his mind, while its producers naturally expected a more faithful adaptation. The final humiliation came when Danielski said, ‘We will survive the name’ Malgudi ‘. Imagine getting Malgudi out of Narayan’s writing? In the ‘Misguided Guide’, Narayan explains another incident. Satyajit Ray had long praised The Guide, but came up with a solid reason why he could never make a toy with adopting it. “Its roots are very deep,” Ray explained, “in the soil of our own part of our country that I doubt if I can do justice to your book, unfamiliar with its benefits.” One can only wonder what kind of film Bengali Ustad would have made out of The Guide. For now, we may have to be content with the guides we have. And what we have is not too bad?

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